Chennai

COVID-19: Government schools are shut but teachers work

The Tamil Nadu Teachers Association has sent representations to the Chief Minister and the Education Department, questioning the need for them to be in schools

The Tamil Nadu government has closed all schools in the State as part of the preventive measures taken against the spread of COVID-19, but teachers in government schools are still reporting for duty.

In a circular, the Director of Elementary Education has asked all elementary education teachers to begin preparations with regard to the 2020-2021 academic year’s teaching plan. The teachers have been instructed to work on lesson plans, student classroom activities and timetables, among other aspects.

“Most private schools are closed for both students and teachers. Why is it that all teachers, especially those teaching lower classes in government schools are expected to come in to work?” questioned a high school teacher from Chennai.

Concerns have been raised following the government’s decision to continue with the conduct of board exams despite the CBSE and ICSE postponing their exams.

The Tamil Nadu Teachers Association too, has sent representations to the Chief Minister and the Education Department, questioning the need for them to be in schools and stating that teachers who are on invigilation duty too, are vulnerable.

A senior official from the Education Department said that they were yet to receive any communication with regard to granting teachers leave. “Since the board exams for classes 11 and 12 are still going on, they might be needed for some urgent work,” he said.

Class XII students in Tamil Nadu have an exam on Tuesday and Class XI students have exams on Monday and Thursday.

When asked about the measures in place for the safety of students and teachers, S. Kannappan, Director of School Education, said that the classrooms in exam centres are thoroughly disinfected in the mornings, before an exam.

“Students are allowed to enter only after they wash their hands with soap and use hand sanitizers that have been provided. Through the last week, these were made available in all exam centres across the state,” he said.

To keep a tab on schools that might hold special classes for students despite an order for a shutdown, officials from the School education department have been visiting schools in their jurisdiction.

“Schools are also being called and reminded of the rules in place and told that strict action will be taken if they flout them. So far, we have not received any complaints of students being asked to come to school," Mr Kannappan said.

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Printable version | Apr 5, 2020 1:26:02 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/covid-19-government-schools-are-shut-but-teachers-work/article31126668.ece

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